PORTLAND — University of Maine junior right wing-defenseman Matt Mangene’s availability for Saturday night’s game against Clarkson was uncertain due to what Maine coach Tim Whitehead described as a “lower body injury.”
Fortunately for Maine, he was able to play and he wound up scoring the game-winning goal with 4.2 seconds left in the second period to give the Black Bear men’s hockey team a hard-fought and entertaining 4-3 victory over Clarkson in front of 5328 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Black Bears snapped a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) and improved to 4-6-2 overall while Clarkson fell to 7-5-3.
Maine extended its unbeaten streak at the Cumberland County Civic Center to 14 games (11-0-3).
“It’s been a long time (since we’ve won a game). It was a much-needed two points,” said Mangene who took a few days off from practice to nurse the injury before going “lightly on Friday and Saturday.
“It felt good enough to go and it held up pretty good,” said Mangene whose goal came off a pass from Nick Pryor, who had two assists in the game.
“I heard Joey (Diamond) screaming from the bench that there were six seconds left,” said Mangene, who also had an assist. “I knew I’d be able to pull off a quick move and get to the middle. I was able to get my shot through and it happened to go in.
“The main thing was to get the puck to the net. The guys in front did a great job creating a screen,” added Mangene whose slap shot deflected into the net off a Clarkson defenseman’s stick.
“That was a bit of a tough break,” said Clarkson senior goalie Paul Karpowich. “There was a clear shooting angle and I came out to challenge but one of our defensemen tossed his stick out trying to block it and, unfortunately, it skipped up off his stick and went into the top corner, glove-side.”
Maine coach Tim Whitehead said Mangene had a great night.
“Matt was tremendous. We had to double-shift him when Joey (Diamond) was in the box (serving a minor and a 10-minute misconduct),” he said.
Clarkson pressed for the equalizer in the third period but Maine sophomore goalie Dan Sullivan was stout, rejecting all 14 shots including 10 of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety.
“He played well,” said Karpowich. “He’s a big guy who takes up a lot of net and he played the percentages really well.”
Sullivan made a terrific point-blank pad save off Allan McPherson’s shot created by a Louke Oakley pass and, a few minutes later, extended his right arm along the ice to rob Oakley from the doorstep.
“I would have liked to have had the two goals in the second period back. They were both stoppable. But it was really good for me to battle back and shut the door in the third period,” said Sullivan who added that he “anticipated” Oakley’s pass to McPherson and then was “lucky” to get his arm out and smother Oakley’s attempt.
“We had them back on their heels in the third period. It was our best period but it was their goalie’s best period as well,” said Clarkson coach Casey Jones.
Adam Shemansky’s second goal of the game had staked Maine to a 3-1 lead early in the second period on the power play, but Clarkson battled back to tie it on goals by Jake Morley and McPherson.
Stu Higgins’ shorthanded goal and Shemansky’s five-on-five goal sandwiched a four-on-four tally by Oakley to give Maine a 2-1 lead after one period.
Morley pulled the Golden Knights to within 3-2 when Sullivan misplayed the puck behind the net and Corey Tamblyn alertly pounced on it and threw it in front to Morley for an easy tap-in.
McPherson tied it on the power play when he made a fake at the right point to free himself from Higgins and strolled down the right wing before snapping a wrister into the short side past the glove of Sullivan.
Higgins opened the scoring with a low wrist shot into the far corner from the right circle off a two-on-one with Mark Anthoine.
Oakley drew Clarkson level by taking a Nick Tremblay pass, skating down an open seam and roofing an in-tight wrister past Sullivan’s glove.
Shemansky broke the deadlock when Beattie poked the puck free from Karpowich behind the net to Mangene and Mangene fed it to him for a spin-around backhander before Karpowich could recover.
Shemansky, positioned at the base of the right circle, made it 3-1 in the second period when he one-timed a diagonal pass from Spencer Abbott through Karpowich’s legs.
It was his the junior left wing’s first two-goal game since he notched a pair in a 4-1 win over Vermont on Oct. 30 2009.
“It was good to finally get a win. We battled hard. It was another step for our team,” said Shemansky.
Both goalies turned in impressive performances as both made 19 Grade-A saves. Sullivan finished with a total of 30 stops and Karpowich had 33.
“The goalies may have been the best players on the ice,” said Whitehead. “I was very impressed with both.”